RD232 - 2017-18 Tuition and Fees at Virginia’s State-Supported Colleges and Universities

Executive Summary:

*This report includes the reporting requirements for the following 2017 Appropriation Act Items: 150.C.; 154.F.; 158.D.; 165.H.; 169.D.; 173.C.; 177.F.; 181.I.; 185.C.; 189.D.; 196.K.; 203.F.; 207.M.; 213.T.; 219.D.; 224.I.; and 230.G.

The first goal of The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, the statewide strategic plan, is to provide affordable higher-education access for all. The alignment of state appropriations, financial aid and tuition and fees is critical to achieving this goal. Analysis of tuition and fees at public colleges and universities in Virginia must include a discussion of the funding received from the General Assembly. The 2017 General Assembly began its regular session with a projected budget shortfall of $1.5 billion for the 2016-18 biennium because the FY2016 general fund revenue and transfer collection fell short of the forecast. The governor proposed a 5% general fund reduction to Virginia public higher education institutions in his introduced 2016-18 budget amendments. In the end, the General Assembly reduced the general fund support to public institutions by $56 million or 3.8% on average in FY2018 compared to the original appropriations. However, the General Assembly provided an additional $18.4 million in general fund for salary increases for teaching and research faculty at public institutions. In total, the general fund appropriations to institutions for educational and general (E&G) programs in FY2018 were reduced by $37.9 million or 2.5% over the original FY2018 appropriations. So, while our public higher education institutions experienced a rare and significant increase in state support of more than 8% in FY2017, they will face an average reduction of 2.5% in FY2018. One step forward and one step back.

Correspondingly, Virginia undergraduate students entering public colleges and universities in fall 2017 will experience an average increase of 5.4% in tuition and mandatory educational and general (E&G) fees. For tuition and all mandatory fees, the increase for in-state undergraduate students (including enrollment-weighted charges for William & Mary and the University of Virginia) will be 4.8% in FY2018. These charges increased by 4.6% in 2016-17 and 6.0% in 2015-16.

This report focuses on tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates and provides a summary of the following four items:

• Board-approved tuition and fee increases for the 2017-18 academic year;
• Tuition and fee trends in Virginia over the past 25 years;
• The cost-sharing relationship between the state and students; and
• Trends in tuition increases nationally.

The appendices provide comparisons of changes in tuition and fees for student groups including in-state undergraduate, out-of-state undergraduate, in-state graduate, out-of-state graduate, in-state first professional, and out-of-state first professional.

To assess trends in tuition and fees, it is important to understand higher education pricing. A student planning to attend a public college or university in Virginia can expect to pay the charges defined as follows:

1. Tuition and Mandatory E&G Fees: Mandatory student charges used to support instruction and education-related activities included in the Education and General (E&G) program. E&G subprograms include instruction, research and public service, academic support, student services, institutional support, and the operation and maintenance of physical plants.

2. Mandatory Non-E&G Fees: Mandatory student charges used to support non-instructional activities such as student health services, athletics, recreational activities, campus transportation and capital debt service.

3. Tuition and All Fees: Sum of tuition, mandatory E&G fees and mandatory non-E&G fees.

4. Room and Board: Optional charges used to support the dormitory and dining functions for students choosing to live on campus. Students living off campus are exempt from these charges.

5. Total Price: The total charge to students and parents, excluding student financial aid. This total includes the sum of tuition, all mandatory fees and room and board.